Have you noticed a new item in our Butterfly Garden? We hung a clear plastic tube full of blue goo in one of the garden beds recently. A few weeks ago, Nathan Brockman, the Curator of the Butterfly Wing of the Reiman Gardens at Iowa State University, asked us if we would be interested in trying out a new style of butterfly feeder they were working on. We replied that we were definitely interested because we are looking for ways to supplement the other sources of food in the garden in order to increase the lifespan of our butterflies.
Now that we have the new feeder installed, we have to train the butterflies to recognize it as a source of food. This involves placing the hungry, newly emerged butterflies on the feeders when we release them after the museum closes. The hope is that they will form new behaviors and come back to the feeders rather than feeding from our plants and fruit only. This is where we need your help.
We need to know whether this feeder is being used by the butterflies and which species are feeding from it. We are hoping you will help us figure this out. When you visit the Butterfly Garden, you may see a butterfly on this feeder. Take a picture of it and send it to us. You can post it to our Facebook page, email us at Animalcare@smwv.org, or post it on Instagram with the hashtag #smwvbutterflies. We plan to tally the butterflies visiting the feeder each month and share the results on Facebook and our website. Thanks for helping!